Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Review: Duke of Midnight by Elizabeth Hoyt


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Few people would choose the path that the Duke of Wakefield has secretly chosen since witnessing the murder of his parents and many would have run as far away as possible from the place and memories that have haunted Maximus these many years, but every night, he rips open the wounds of the past and visits St. Giles -- hoping to find his parents' killer and exact his revenge.

It is not the life one would envision a duke living, but it is the life Maximus has chosen for himself -- peering into the mouth of hell, to seek salvation for his tormented soul. He is one of the Ghosts of St. Giles -- a man in a harlequin costume, watching over St. Giles like a dark angel.

Given a choice, Artemis Greaves would not be working as a paid companion to her distant cousin, Lady Penelope and would love, instead, to see her twin brother freed from Bedlam. She wouldn't be living in London but back in her family home in the country where their lives would be simple and quiet. But Artemis makes the best of her situation, quietly waiting for a window of opportunity to open for her and her brother.

And it comes in the form of the Ghost.

Artemis is not above blackmailing Maximus, threatening to reveal his secret occupation -- she is that desperate to save Apollo. Maximus does his very best to intimidate and sway Artemis but she stands firm -- and he cannot help but be in awe of this woman who dares to stand up to a duke, who dares to see beyond the title and talk to the man.

Man/Mask/Title: this is a theme that is prevalent in Duke of Midnight. Having been immersed in both his responsibilities as duke and his work as the Ghost for a very long time, Maximus has forgotten that there is the man beneath both of these. His guise as a duke means that Max must consider marriage to Lady Penelope, no matter that they are not compatible -- forgoing any chance at happiness or contentment that he might find in marriage. His disguise as the Ghost means that Max must live with the burden of the many deaths on his hands: of his parents, of the criminals in St. Giles, and of the innocent people caught in the crosshairs of his vengeance.

Artemis threatens the many layers that Maximus has buried himself under: she threatens to unmask the Ghost and to ruin the duke in the process. I loved how incredibly focused and relentless she was -- much like her goddess namesake. I really enjoyed the pairing of Artemis and Maximus. On the surface, the discrepancy between their social positions seems too great but our hero and heroine have a lot in common: both have had terrible things happen to them and they could have easily walked away and tried to forget it -- but they both chose the difficult path, both of them chose to stay and fight. It is a testament to the strength of their character.

If I was to talk about the love between Artemis and Maximus, it would be to say that it is there, but it is not the romantic, flowery love that we associate with romance novels. For Artemis and Maximus, it is an emotion that manifests itself in a very powerful, and very primal way. (Read Chapter 15) I love that they are instrumental in fulfilling the other's goal: Artemis finally manages to have Apollo freed from Bedlam and Maximus is on the verge of finding his parents' killers. Duke of Midnight is the culmination of Artemis and Maximus's lifelong endeavour -- but it is not to say that this is the last of their story: a chapter in their lives was about to end, but a new one was about to unfold.

I've been following Hoyt's Maiden Lane series from the very beginning and I am in awe of the breadth of her vision and of the depth of her understanding of the characters and of the world she has built. St. Giles is an oft-used location in romance novels -- but Hoyt's St. Giles is a character in itself and she portrays the multifarious nature of this district: at once a haven (it is where the Makepeace's Home for Unfortunate Infants and Foundling Children is located) and a hell. I also loved Apollo Greaves, Viscount Kilbourne: half-mad, and clinging to the very last threads of civility and humanity -- he fits perfectly into the world of Maiden Lane and I'm very excited to read his story, which comes next. (Maybe in 2014? ^_^)

Duke of Midnight is Book 6 in Elizabeth Hoyt's Maiden Lane series. To find out more about Elizabeth Hoyt and her books, click below:




3 comments:

  1. I’m certainly looking forward to reading Elizabeth Hoyt’s new book. I’ve heard some really great things about it!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I can't wait for the next one. I was depressed there were no excerpts in the back for the next book. Who authorized such a travesty?!

    ReplyDelete
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